On Thursday night, Reading completed the signing of Everton goalkeeper Joao Virginia on a season-long loan deal.
Virginia arrives as a replacement for Emi Martinez, who impressed during his loan stint from Arsenal at the Madejski last season, and becomes Jose Gomes’ first signing of the summer.
It is the first time the 19-year-old has been sent out on loan after graduating through the Benfica youth system before moving to Arsenal and then finally to Goodison Park.
Taking to Twitter after the deal was announced, Virginia said: “Delighted to join @readingfc on loan. It’s an honor to become part of such a historical club. Thank you for the confidence, Royals!”
Although he is yet to break into the Everton first-team, he has regularly impressed in the under-23 ranks, playing a crucial role as they lifted the Premier League 2 title and Under-23 cup last season.
He has now flown out to Malaga in order to link-up with the rest of the Royals’ squad for their pre-season training camp.
Last season saw the Royals narrowly avoid relegation in what was an intense scrap at the foot of the table but Gomes will be confident of guiding them further from trouble this time around.
This has all the makings of a decent signing.
You would suspect that Emi Martinez would have been the club’s first-choice to bring back but it was always likely to be difficult given Arsenal’s lack of options in goal.
But Virginia is clearly very talented and has a lot of promise as well. A compatriot of Gomes’, you would not bet against the best being brought out of him at the Madejski next season.